Azimut 116 — By Alan Harper
— December 2004
Two very different Azimut 116s prove this Italian yard’s ability to tailor a yacht to match nearly any customer’s tastes.
The first Azimut 116 is actually two boats. There is the one that Azimut built and delivered to her young Mexican owners earlier this year. And there is the one that Azimut probably wished it had built but which existed only in its imagination.
To present a true impression of Azimut’s vision for this sleek new flagship motoryacht, with her stylish yet traditional cherrywood interior designed by Carlo Galeazzi, the boatbuilder had to wait several months for boat number two to be completed. For the interior of the first 116 is so very different in feel, flavor, and finish from any of the original concept renderings, that the Azimut staff privately admit to thinking of her as a “preproduction” example—a custom, one-off yacht that could easily have emerged from Azimut’s sister company, the custom shipyard of Benetti, located next to where the 116 was built in Viareggio, Italy.
Azimut does in fact offer an impressively varied choice of layouts for the 116, and some might conclude it was unlucky that none proved quite right for that first customer, who brought in an independent designer and started work on the interior from a virtually clean sheet of paper. Two standard layouts are offered on the main deck. The U.S. version has the smaller galley, with the owner’s suite occupying the forward sections. The European version offers a much longer galley, a dinette on the port side amidships, an owner’s stateroom amidship on the lower deck, and an extra seating area forward known as the utility room, which could be an entertainment suite, cinema, study, or whatever else the owner desires. In both versions, the saloon is laid out along conventional lines, with sofa seating for nine or ten, a bar, and an oval dining table that seats ten.
Down on the lower deck, the choice is between four cabins or five. The U.S. version has two guest doubles and two twins, all en suite of course, with more space given over to the crew accommodations forward. In the European version the owner’s suite occupies the full beam (25'1") amidships, with two double and two twin guest cabins forward—and consequently somewhat smaller crew quarters.
In contrast to these alternatives, the interior designer of the first 116 specified a symmetrical layout on the lower deck of four en suite guest cabins: two doubles and two twins of a similar size, as the owners apparently intend to do most of their cruising as four couples. For flexibility, the twin berths slide easily together, and perhaps with one eye on the yacht’s resale appeal, the designer ensured that the bulkhead between the two double cabins is relatively easy to remove. That done, a future owner could make this area into one large full-beam stateroom. Forward on the port side, reached via a separate companionway is a “hidden” extra en suite cabin, with two bunk berths and a single, which would make an ideal den for youngsters. In the bow there are six berths for crew, in three cabins: a double shared by the captain and his wife, and two bunks, all with en suite facilities.
The look is ultra-modern, which in this case means minimalist and faux-Japanese. Consequently, there is great emphasis on flat surfaces, right angles, and muted color schemes. The huge, custom-made Capellini sofas in the saloon and their gigantic attendant throw pillows are in topo grigio leather, which translates both visually and literally as mouse-gray, while the table and floor are in dark rigatino wood. The 12 cube-shape dining chairs are designed to slide in when not in use and virtually disappear, creating the impression of one simple, rectangular form. Up forward, the utility room is arranged as a small cinema and entertainment suite, with leather floor and seating, while down in the guest cabins, the extraordinarily low beds serve as a reminder of the youthfulness of the owners—anyone over 50 will find themselves crawling out of bed on their hands and knees.
The interior designer of this first 116 has made several decisions that might be regarded as questionable—none of the blame for which can be laid at Azimut’s door. Most baffling is the question of where to hang things. There is provision for a large, presumably communal, hanging locker in the central lobby, although it appears to be in use as a linen closet. Other hanging lockers are in the cabins and, strangely, in the heads—two of them actually in the showers! Their doors, slatted with louvered ventilation panels, will protect clothes from regular soakings, but nothing will keep them safe from getting damp. This should at least keep the need for ironing to a minimum, which will come as a relief to the crew; with not one hanging locker of their own, they will have enough ironing to do already.
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.